The Gavin Crawford show at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival started twenty minutes late, but the venue sold beer and cookies, so it was a pleasant wait. When he did appear onstage it was in the persona of Kathleen Wynne, which I loved because I am a political junkie and because he really did look a lot like her. Granted, Crawford is quite the chameleon who almost eerily becomes the person he is spoofing, but Wynne seems a particularly perfect character for him. It’s also particularly apt for Ontario’s first lesbian premier to feature in a show as gay as this.
By Mark Mann
Toronto Sketchfest kicks off to high laughs with the Templeton Philharmonic
The night began with nuns, and yes, the nuns were horny. “I think I’ve heard this one before,” I thought to myself as I settled in with my friend at the back of Comedy Bar for comedy troupes 2 Humans, Rulers of the Universe, and The Templeton Philharmonic. I was wrong.
Here is what’s going on in Toronto theatre this week. There are several great shows to catch for the week of March 10th, 2014. ** Shows marked with the double asterisks and in red are the ones that make Wayne, our Managing Editor, wishes he could exist in multiple parallel universes so he could check them all out.
By Gian Verano
Get ready to laugh away the winter blahs with The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival
After a long and arduous winter, Torontonians could really use a good laugh. Launched last week on March the 6th, The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (TOSketchfest for short) features 11 days of hilarious performances, as well as various workshops and panels with some of comedy’s funniest names.
By Megan Mooney
Rich performances breathe depth into The Wanderers at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Kawa Ada has produced a script layered with light and darkness that travels between Afghanistan and Canada, real and imagined, lore and legitimacy. And director Nina Lee Aquino has worked beautifully to bring both extremes to life.
Impressive audience interaction adds flare to Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre’s Where the Wild Things Are
“Is it going to be scary?” asked Stanley, my four-year-old review partner, for the eleventeenth time. “Will there be real monsters? There won’t, right? It’ll be people in monster suits, right? (long pause) Will the suits be scary looking?”
There are several quite brilliant things about the production of Where The Wild Things Are at Young People’s Theatre, but among them, the most reassuring to me as a parent was this: there are no monsters. No external monsters, anyhow; in the story, all the Wild Things are played by the audience. By the time Linda A. Carson (in a dual role as Max’s mom and Our Narrator) is instructing the children to scare their own toes, everyone’s located and made some peace with their inner Wild Things – which is, of course, the whole point of Sendak’s original book. With a relatively simple, whimsical staging and a lot of audience interaction and participation, Where The Wild Things Are is honestly the best littlest-kids show I have ever seen.
By Wayne Leung
The National Ballet of Canada brings its production of Swan Lake back to Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre
Swan Lake is an enduring classic and one of the most famous ballets of all time. Tchaikovsky’s score is iconic and the ballet itself is pervasive in popular culture; its popularity is currently buoyed by the recent Oscar-nominated film Black Swan. It really does feel like one of those pivotal works of art that one ought to see in their lifetime.
Luckily for those of us in Toronto, the National Ballet of Canada is presenting its magnificent production of Swan Lake for an eight-performance run at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, just in time for March break. Read the rest of this entry »
By Lauren Stein
In time for Spring Break, The Miller and his Wife is playing at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille
Stepping firmly into their 40th year of entertaining audiences with impressively imaginative puppetry, the Puppetmongers have remounted their very first production of The Miller and His Wife for a special spring break run at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Backspace. Full of whimsy for the little ones, pop-culture interjections for the slightly older ones and chuckle-worthy dry humour for the adults, it’s a refreshingly nostalgic reminder of just how magical theatre can be.
By Emma Letki
In Spirit explores death through a little girl’s eyes at Toronto’s Aki Studio Theatre
In Spirit is part of this year’s Rutas Panamericanas |Panamerican Routes presented by Aluna Theatre in association with Native Earth Performing Arts at the Aki Studio Theatre. This particular work is also part of NEPA’s 2013/ 2014 season. Written and Directed by Tara Beagan, former Artistic Director of NEPA, it is no wonder that In Spirit has such a great production quality. The team for In Spirit reads like the who’s who of top Canadian artists.
What would it be like to die? Or be murdered? These are pretty morbid questions, but they must have been asked at some point during the creation of In Spirit. This work is told from the perspective of a 13 year old little girl. It follows her journey rediscovering the events of her death. Read the rest of this entry »
Exceptionally crafted performances light up the stage in The Seagull at Toronto’s Berkeley Theatre
For their production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, the Chekhov Collective has utilized the Chekhov Technique. (Phew! Three “Chekhovs” in one sentence!) What the technique boils down to this: Anton Chekhov’s nephew, Michael, was one of Stanislavsky’s star pupils. Following in his mentor’s footsteps, he developed a technique that focuses on in-depth awareness of body and psychology, forging them into tools to bring characters to life.
This, you can imagine, takes a great deal of time. Those Russian masters would work on theatrical productions for years before presenting them to audiences. Keeping this tradition alive, the Chekhov Collective’s production is a carefully wrought gem. After a year of preparation, the fruits of their labour now grace the stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »